citizenship

Immigration minister Peter Dutton’s citizenship bill amendments lapsed on October 18. It is not the first time Dutton has failed to pass new laws relating to immigration, visas and citizenship and is another illustration of the growing discontent with some of the government’s far-reaching, Trump-like, proposals about immigration law.

It was opposed in the Senate by Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team. They also combined to deny Dutton an extension to October 20. In the end, with the numbers against it, the Bill never even made it to the floor.

In a landmark decision on December 16, the Federal Court found the minister for immigration Peter Dutton unreasonably delayed making decisions on applications for citizenship by refugees.

The court also ruled that Dutton erred in rejecting the applications for citizenship of two Afghan refugees several weeks after they commenced legal proceedings. The pair had been permanent residents of Australia for more than four years.

On December 16, the Federal Court ruled that delays by the Department of Immigration and Border Security (DIBS) in making decisions on citizenship were “unreasonable”, prompting hope for people with refugee backgrounds in a similar plight. 

One litigant said: “This may set an important precedent for individuals in similar circumstances.”

Acting CEO of Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) Tim O’Connor said the decision was a “landmark ruling” which recognised the “injustice” citizenship delays had caused. 

Labor and the Coalition will vote for new laws this week that will strip dual nationals of their citizenship at the discretion of the immigration minister.

Both major parties agree that the laws should also apply retrospectively to those sentenced to at least ten years’ jail.

A bipartisan committee released a report on the proposed laws on September 4 and recommended that some of its measures be watered down.

It has become a disturbing hallmark of the current government that the degree to which Prime Minister Tony Abbott adopts the style of a Nazi leader addressing the Nuremburg Rally is a reflection of the policies being foreshadowed. At Abbott's June 23 press conference, the flag count was up to 10. The parliamentary sitting week that followed was an assault on democratic rights.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has turned playing the national security card into a cliche in his desperate attempt to reverse his unpopularity by promising to protect Australians' lives from a serious threat of terrorism.

On May 26, he again gave a press conference in front of half a dozen Australian flags, arguing that stopping Australians from being harmed by terrorists was his government's overriding priority and foreshadowing announcements in the coming parliamentary sitting week of a new round of legislation attacking fundamental civil liberties.

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